Material Text Cultures

Paul Schweitzer-Martin

 Paul Schweitzer-Martin

Medieval History
Department of Frankish-Palatine History and Regional Studies

Telephone:  06221-54 3715



Institut für Fränkisch-Pfälzische Geschichte und Landeskunde
Grabengasse 3-5
D-69117 Heidelberg

Research project

Working title: How did medieval printers choose content and material?

This dissertation project wants to investigate incunabula printers as influential figures in the change of media and knowledge production and reception in the late middle ages.

First, this proposed change of literature production will be traced with case studies on print workshops. The case studies will be chosen such that they can help answer the question if the shift from church or monastic production to lay printers can be confirmed and what impact it had. One of the main questions is if the prospering production of incunabula is a revolutionary innovation or more of a long-term development that goes back to the 14th century. The project also wants to contribute to the question of the project A06 “The Paper Revolution in Late Medieval Europe” by comparing paper and parchment prints. Did printers comment their use of printing material? How do content and material relate to one another? In order to evaluate the importance of paper for the success of printing, supply chains have to be identified and analyzed. To answer these questions the “Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke” is an important resource for broader investigations. To answer individual questions in more detail case studies will analyze print workshops and prints. Furthermore, dedications, colophons and information in the prints are to be compared. In addition, source material about the printers will put their choices into context.

The aim of the project is to provide insight on strategies and choices concerning material and content of medieval printers. In a broader sense it should show continuities and discontinuities of media production at the verge of a non-typographical to a typographical society.


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Teaching at the History Department, University of Heidelberg


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